Talking Story


With busy people it’s all about the when. When you’ll finally read that book gathering dust on the nightstand, when you’ll finally make time to have that conversation, exercise, clean the closet.

I think we all feel the pressure of time’s cold, clammy hand pressed against our necks.

Until we don’t.

We don’t talk about having too much time on our hands. It sounds ungrateful, wasteful, just think of all the starving kids in Africa bad.

The truth is time is like chocolate—too much and you fall into a diabetic coma. Too little and you’d give an arm and a leg for the rest a coma would bring.

Surrounded on all sides by wind, cold weather, and the geriatric crowd, time becomes glue, trapping my mind and spirit as I nurse a $2.50 can of warm Diet Coke and try to ignore the carafe of goldfish crackers the waiter placed next to me.

Baseball hat and sunscreen on, I sit in the cruise ship’s piano bar waiting for the sun to return, wondering if I can talk anyone into a card game. I surreptitiously fiddle with my watch, counting the hours until the next meal and hoping my too comfy tee-shirt and capris will pass in the smart-casual roulette wheel of the cruise ship’s dinner dress code.

Probably not, but attitude is everything, particularly with maître d’s.

I wish I could take these hours and save them for days when I need more than 24, spreading the time wealth glut, storing them like the fine dark chocolate bar I have hidden in the back of the pantry. On rough days I break a tiny piece off and savor it. Think of it: the ability to sneak a fifteen minute reading break in between laundry, cooking dinner, or running an errand or even an hour’s nap in the sun after a too-late night spent holding a hand in the dark.

But time waits for no one and all I can do is try to store the memory of idleness, of sitting at a table with nothing to do but sip and scribble and wait for the sun.

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